(photos by Paul Heartfield)
In 2006, industrial music pioneer Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle and Coil was so taken with Desertshore, a challenging 1970 album by Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico, that he set off on a project to "cover," and I use the term loosely, the entire album. It was a project that would quietly simmer in the background for several years as Sleazy continued to record and perform as part of the re-activated Throbbing Gristle with Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni-Tutti, and Genesis P-Orridge. In 2007, Throbbing Gristle performed versions of some of the Desertshore material live at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. It would be three more years though before Sleazy focused on Desertshore in earnest, preparing to record guest vocalists who would sing Nico's poetry on the reimagined songs. Simultaneously, Chris and Cosey, who Sleazy had recently toured with as the trio X-TG, prepared at their Norfolk, UK studio for a forthcoming visit from their friend who was then living in Bangkok. The plan upon Sleazy's arrival was to finally immerse themselves in the Desertshore production. Then, on November 25, 2010, just a month before his scheduled trip to see Chris and Cosey, Sleazy died in his sleep.
For the last two years, Chris and Cosey have sifted through Sleazy's sound files, recorded snippets, and notebooks in an effort to bring Desertshore to life even in the shadow of their friend's death. The album is now complete. On November 26, 2012, the day after the anniversary of Sleazy's death, Desertshore will be released on Industrial Records. Guest artists on the project include Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons), Marc Almond, Blixa Bargeld, Sasha Grey and Gaspar Noé.
For more than three decades, Chris, Cosey, and Sleazy seized every opportunity they could find together to informally experiment and push the boundaries of their creative relationships with music and each other. To paraphrase Cosey, their life was their art and their art was their life. Indeed, the forthcoming Desertshore is accompanied by an entire additional album drawn from Chris, Cosey, and Sleazy's 2009/2010 trio sessions in Norfolk. I'm honored that our friends Chris and Cosey, who have been lifelong inspirations to me, provided us an exclusive pre-release remix of a song from the forthcoming companion album that is, indeed, "The Final Report."
(This post is dedicated to the memory of Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson)